Rich in history, the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba was established in the agricultural community of Brandon, Manitoba in the year 1882. Through the production of three annual fairs, this volunteer lead organization showcases agriculture and links urban and rural through education and awareness while providing entertainment, community pride and economic enhancement to the region.
The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba plays a pivotal role in showcasing the importance of the agricultural industry in our region. Studies indicate that the organization has an economic impact of approximately $12 million dollars annually to the city of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. Governed by a Board of Directors, the day-to-day operations are administered through a General Manager and 7 staff. During each fair additional part-time staff and hundreds of volunteers work together to produce each event.
Established in 1882, the Brandon Agricultural Society was formed shortly after the incorporation of the city and two years before the Chamber of Commerce. In October 1882, local businessmen put up $200 and called for entries for cattle, horses, pigs, poultry and grains. The Brandon Fair was the start of a long history of agricultural exhibitions in the City of Brandon.
In March 1908, the Brandon Winter Fair was born. The purpose of this fair was primarily to promote the sale of livestock and to encourage improvement in the breeding lines and care of animals. Numerous educational opportunities were added to the fair as well as displays by government agencies, implement dealers and other manufacturers. In addition, there was now the opportunity to attend lectures and meetings of breed associations and other agricultural groups. But as before, it was the horse sales that attracted the most attention.In those early years, the Brandon Summer Fair and the Brandon Winter Fair ran independently. The summer show began on the corner of what is today 10th and Victoria Avenue and moved to its present location on the Keystone grounds in the late 1800’s.
The Winter Fair began on the Keystone grounds and later moved to the Wheat City Arena location and remained there until the building of the Keystone Centre, which now hosts all three of the Provincial Exhibition annual events. In 1967 the amalgamation of the two fairs took place and the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba became an official organization. On July 12, 1970, the Brandon Winter Fair was granted Patronage by a visit from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and became the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.